BALTIMORE RAVENS TRANSCRIPTS: RAIDERS WEDNESDAY
Head Coach John Harbaugh
On if CB Samari Rolle and S Dawan Landry will return from injury, and if so, does that put the Ravens close to a full squad:"I think we're close to seeing full participation for the guys who aren't on IR. Obviously, we have a number of guys that are on IR, and those guys are out for the year. With Samari and Dawan, I would have to say right now it's not looking as good [to play Sunday], after they had the two doctors' visits this week. There's a slim chance that those two guys could play, but right now we don't anticipate it."
On if assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is more pumped for this game against a good defense coached by his brother:"It's interesting. Rex gets excited for every game. If you know Rex, and you guys talk to him all the time, he's excited and he's looking forward to practice and playing the game. He's got to be a little more fired up because Rob's coming in, and Rob does such a great job. And his dad's coming in – Buddy's going to be here. Buddy will be on the field before the game. I'm sure we'll all have a chance to talk. My dad's here. So it's going to be a lot of fun. Anytime you have a family deal, you've got the cousins and the brothers and sisters and everybody together, and we're going to have a football game Sunday afternoon. It's going to be competitive."
On which team will get a pep talk from Buddy Ryan:"That's a good question. Yeah, we'll have to see. We're putting our bids in for Buddy right now."
On his impression of CB Fabian Washington:"All we know is what we've seen of him here this year, and Fabian's been a real professional. Obviously, he's a very talented guy. He's had some of the injury things which we want to continue to work through, and he's worked hard. He's one of the better practice corners that I've seen since I've been in the league. He really practices well, and I think it reflects in how he plays."
On if he's gotten the sense that Washington's been frustrated with some of his injuries:"He gets frustrated with the injuries, sure. He wants to play. And all the things that have happened, he's worked really hard to get past them. But he wants to be on the field."
On what CB Chris McAlister needs to do to be one of the best 11 players on the field and if off-the-field issues – like team dress code before a game – played a factor in his limited playing time last week:"As far as – and we talked last night about it – the non-football things that can happen with players, things happen. We're here six months straight and we have a lot of obligations, and things come up that are 'off-the-field discipline issues,' different degrees of things. Those things do not relate to a player's playing time, in our system that Ozzie [Newsome] and I put together, until you get to that conduct detrimental level that the Collective Bargaining Agreement talks about. Those things are dealt with; they don't reflect a playing time issue. What our coaches do, like coaches all around the league do, they may spend 100 hours, those defensive coaches, studying the tape throughout the week and studying the packages, the matchups against what we're going to see. It's our personnel against their personnel in different situations, our players against their players, and that's what I mean when I say we put the best guys out there. So we've set up our matchups this week against the Raiders with our guys against their guys, and those are the ones we're got to practice this week and those are the ones we're going to go in through Sunday. And what you need to see from the players as they go through it is they'll practice it and get ready to go and kind of hone their skills for Sunday. I'm sure Chris will do that."
On clarification that it has nothing to do with how McAlister dressed and it's how he performs and handles himself inside the confinement of the football team:"Well, to be clear and specific about the way we do it, none of it has to do with any player, as far as the way they dress. That is a discipline issue and we handle it as a discipline issue. It's separate from the playing time. We put the best 11 players out there for that situation. I don't know how you can be much more clear than that. It applies to Chris just like it applies to any other player on our team. I think it's pretty clear-cut, what I'm saying."
On what LB Terrell Suggs' versatility means to the defense:"Terrell Suggs is a very versatile player. He can rush the passer. Obviously, he can cover the backs out of the backfield. He made a tremendous play on the flat route. He drops in coverage. He set a lot of things up. I think he's talked about this in the past – because he's such a good, effective pass rusher – they'll slide the protection to him a lot. And in that case, they split the protection to him, we brought the blitz the other way, Jimmy Leonhard comes free, gets pressure, and Suggs is in coverage and makes a play. So in some ways he's more effective than just a pure pass-rusher, because he can do so many other things."
On if Oakland is a case of "don't let that 2-4 record fool you":"Any team in this league would be a case of that, but Oakland is definitely an example. They're a very good football team. They're one of the best running football teams in the NFL. They're probably the best special teams in the NFL right now. They've got tremendous talent on both sides of the ball. They're very fast, and they've got play-makers all over the field on both sides. So like most teams in the NFL, but specifically this team, we're going to have our hands full."
On if the Raiders have changed much since they changed head coaches:"Well it's the same football team. They've changed head coaches, but the things that they've done are the things that they've established, so far in terms of their identity, are the same things that they're doing. They still have Rob [Ryan] in place on defense, they're running the same defense, and the same offense is in place with coach [Tom] Cable. So I don't think too much has changed."
On how much of an inspiration retired Ravens T Jonathan Ogden could be in this game at which he will enter the Ring of Honor:"I know Jonathan will be over here and he'll be talking to our guys on his own. But if Jonathan's out there, if he wants to talk to our team, he's always welcome to talk to our football team. He's done it before with the offensive line, and they've got a lot of respect for him."
On if the Ravens have left any salary cap room available:"We joked about that last night. We're going to introduce him [Ogden] with the team, so if he comes out in full gear you'll know he's playing left tackle."
On if this week's game could depend on special teams play:"Yeah, a big part of this game is going to be special teams, because it's going to be a tough, hard-fought football game, and that's probably the area sometimes that tilts it. And our players have to be ready to play the best unit in the NFL. We've got some young guys who are kind of coming of age. We've got to eliminate the mistakes we've made. We've got to keep building on the good things we've done. We've got to play these guys heads up, and have a chance to win the football game."
On WR Derrick Mason's play despite his age and size:"Derrick Mason is one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL right now. It's kind of what you were alluding to. But I think we all, coming in here as a new staff, understood how good of player he was. But until you see him every day, close up, you don't always really understand how good of a guy is. He practices like crazy. He practices like a 22-year-old guy, and that's what reflects in his play. There's not a better route-runner, inside or outside. There's not a guy with better hands, and he's elusive with the ball after he catches it. He's as good a receiver as there is."
On how much Mason helps QB Joe Flacco:"The thing about a guy like Mason, where it helps the quarterback, is that he's going to be available. 'Mase' does a great job of making himself available to the quarterback. What does that mean? It means he gets open, and he gets open on time. So if Joe gets to him, he knows that 'Mase' is going to be moving away from a defender. So that's a big confident boost for a quarterback."
On if Mason and Flacco are developing unspoken signals:"As far as the non-verbal communication? I imagine they are. You'd have to ask them specifically what it is, but they do seem like they've got a little 'in sync' thing going."
On if he'd like to get WR Mark Clayton more involved in the offense:"Well, we do. Mark has really practiced well, and he's had a couple of plays. You get excited about the fact that he's that kind of an athlete. You put Todd Heap in the same category, you put Demetrius Williams in the same category, and we want to do a great job of getting all our guys involved – Mark being a big part of it. I think that's partly their job, more and more, [to] make themselves available to the quarterback in critical situations. And Joe's job is to go ahead and drive the ball into them, give them a chance to make those plays."
QB Joe Flacco
On if the team's confidence is high going into this week after the win in Miami:"I think we feel the same way that we've [felt] every week. We're ready to go, we're coming off a good game, and we're ready to continue it."
On how he likes the tempo of the no-huddle offense:"It's a lot of fun. It gets us going, and as long as we have good drives we can continue to do that. I don't think we really care how we do it – huddle up or if we go in no-huddle – we're used to both at this point and we can operate in both."
On how the tempo of the no-huddle offense helps the team:"It puts a lot of pressure on the defense to get lined up. As long as we're in good shape, it's tough to keep up with that tempo throughout the course of the game. It just gets you into a groove – gets you seeing things and keeps you going."
On if he is cognizant of and tries to see that all his receivers get their passes in games:"I think that we call the plays and we go where the open guy is. The way we run our offense is the way it happens. A lot of guys get the ball and it keeps those guys in the game."
On whether he thinks about dividing his passes up among the receivers:"No, not really. I haven't thought about it. I haven't gotten to that point yet. I'm going back to everyone in the offense and wherever the ball goes, it goes."
On how the win in Miami makes him feel about the progress of the offense:"I don't know when we're going to be at the point where we want to be. I don't think you ever get to that point. You're always progressing, you're always getting better, and that's what we're doing right now. We're still a young offense, and we're trying to get better each week."
On whether he attributes his calm demeanor to his parents, teammates and/or coaches:"I don't know. I've said it all along: It's just the way I've always been and I don't really know if there's one reason for it. It's just my personality and how I am on the football field."
On if he feels Cam Cameron has fashioned the Ravens' offense similarly to the offense at Delaware:"There are similarities in all offenses. You'd probably have to ask him more about that question. I'm just trying to take this offense for what it is and do what all our coaches ask me to do."
On how important he felt it was for the Ravens to bounce back and win in Miami after the loss in Indianapolis:"I think the most important thing is that we needed to win. You always want to win a football game. We were 2-3 and going down to Miami. The win was just so important. Obviously, we'd gotten beat last week and we didn't want to do that. But, more than anything, we just wanted to win. It wasn't really so much that we [were] beaten [the previous] week – obviously that was still with us – but it was just important overall to get a win. That was the best reason."
On what part of the Oakland defense impresses him most from what he's seen on film:"They are a bunch of big guys that can go out there and be physical and play. Really, all the parts of their defense have done a pretty good job, and we're ready to go out there and match up against them and show them what we've got."
On the importance of working on ball control and time of possession:"If we do what we want to do, that's the way it's going to be. We'll be efficient on first and second down and we will be able to convert first downs and keep the ball in our hands. I think when things are going that way, we play well. We give our defense a rest, and they go out on the field and they get the job done like they always have."
On getting to play at home this week in the middle of so many road trips:"I haven't really thought about it. You go out there, you play every week, and you do your traveling. It's usually over pretty quickly – the traveling part of it. It's definitely always nice to play at home. It's been great, these past few weeks, when we have played at home, and I anticipate it being another good shot here."
TE Todd Heap
On how he feels about the ball coming his way a little more:"You know what? I think more important than that is the way we played collectively as an offense. We were able to sustain a few drives. We didn't have a ton of them, but the ones that we did have, we were able to drive down the field, sustain the drive, put up points, and were able to answer when they put up points, come back and answer. When the game was in the balance, we were able to keep that clock going and really keep our defense off the field. I think that was a great sign after the last few weeks prior."
On being a veteran playing next to a young offensive line and how Chris Chester has done stepping in at guard:"Chris, first of all talking about him, he did a great job last week. [He] stepped in, and we didn't skip a beat, as far as the continuity with the offensive line. As far as them being young guys, I don't really think that has much to do with it at this point, especially this point in the season. We've got a lot of guys that, even if you have a rookie, they're not a rookie anymore at this point in the season. We've got a lot of guys that have been able to gain some experience thus far. We've seen a lot of different things from some really good defenses so far. They've got experience now, and it's only something we can build off of."
On whether he was pleasantly surprised by how QB Joe Flacco handled the no-huddle offense:"I'm not that surprised by the way he does it. We've seen him do it in practice. We've seen him do it all season long. So it's a thing where we get out there, and we're not running around not knowing what's going on. We just kind of calmly get up to the line. 'All right, get us a play, make sure we get it on time, and we're good to go.' There's not anybody panicking out there, so it's good to get in that rhythm and that flow. I think everybody can see this past week, when we were able to do that, the defense was on their heels. We caught them a couple times when they weren't even lined up, and we were running plays. I think that's going to help us. I think that's going to help us because defenses are going to have to make their decisions quicker than they're used to. They're not going to be able to rely on, 'Oh, we can change this personnel up,' or 'We can change for this down or put in this sub-package when we want.' They really have to be on their toes to see what we're doing if we're going to no-huddle [or] if we're going to huddle and change the personnel. I think those are good things that, offensively, we'd really keep them off balance."
On if they breathed a sigh of relief after winning the last game:"Oh, no question. I think with some of the close games that we've had, games that we felt we had a better chance of winning, to finally get back in the win column and to be .500 at this point, we're happy with that. Obviously, we've got a lot of games in front of us, and it all starts this week with the Raiders. So we've got to put all that behind us, 3-3 behind us, and just act like we're moving forward and try to win this game."
On whether he expects the Raiders game to be physical like Pittsburgh and Tennessee:"No question. It's going to be a physical game. If you watch their defense, that's the way they play. They're a physical bunch. They've got a lot of big guys up front. Their linebackers are fast. They've got some great cover guys on the back end. Yeah, it's going to be a physical game. That's what we expect."
On playing at home again:"It's good to come back home in front of our fans, even better coming off a win. So hopefully, everybody will be jazzed up ready to go. That stadium will be loud and rocking and rolling this week."
On similarities between Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan's defenses:"[I] definitely see similar things here and there. I think they've got a little bit different styles, but there are certain defenses where you can say, 'OK, we've seen that before.' As far as our defense is concerned, I think they do a lot of different things. I think the Raiders have the capability and have shown a lot of different things in the past, but thus far we haven't seen them this year. We've got to be ready for anything. Besides the fact that they [Rex and Rob] look so much alike, you know, you can't tell them apart."
WR Derrick Mason
On whether defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is getting him ready to play against brother Rob's Raiders defense:"The coaching staff is getting us ready to play their defense. It's a very aggressive defense. They've got a lot of very good players on that side of the ball, a lot of athletic players on that side of the ball. They're big, strong, fast. So we have to find a way to generate some plays on that very good defense."
On how he feels about facing CB Nnamdi Asomugha and how important he thinks he is to the Raiders' defense:"He's been very effective at it. They do a good job of putting him on one guy and trying to shut down one side of the field. The guy, I think, he had close to double-digit interceptions last year. When you do that, people tend to stay away from you. And he's playing very good this year. So he singles up on one guy, whether it be they match him up or he just takes one side, and he's been very good at minimizing the catches on the other side. I think he probably only has two or three completions on him this whole season, and that's phenomenal considering the way this week is going now, as far as passing. DeAngelo Hall, he's not a slouch either. The guy is very good. So we have our work in for us this week against a very good secondary and a very good defensive line."
On how much CB Fabian Washington can tell the team what the Raiders' defense does, or has the personnel changed too much since his time in Oakland:"He can probably share some things here and there, but Fabian's got too much to worry about with our defense. We do so much on our defense that you don't have time to worry about anybody else's defense. Once you're out of it, you're out of it and you're just trying to concentrate on what you need to so. He could probably tell you some things personnel-wise, but as far as scheme-wise, he's so entrenched in what we're doing defensively, I wouldn't even ask."
On if the team focuses on winning all home games and hopes to split the road games:"We want to win the home games and the road games. We try not to split either one. But, yeah, it's business as usual. You want to try your best to get to 4-3 and try to get a leg up and try to stay with the top team in our division. But it's going to be a hard battle because Oakland is playing very [well]. They've lost some very close games. They had some games, and they just let them go. We have a very, very hard task ahead of us, so we're not looking past them. We're going to take it one day at a time, and it's business as usual. We've got to go out there at M&T Bank [Stadium] and get a victory."
On if he feels the no-huddle offense gave the Ravens a jumpstart in the game against Miami:"I think Joe [Flacco] is very comfortable with the no-huddle [offense]. Not too many young quarterbacks are comfortable in that situation, [but] I think Joe thrives in that situation. So if your quarterback is comfortable and your offensive line is comfortable, then you're going to move the ball. Anytime you go more than three, four, or five plays against the defense, you kind of wear them out with that no-huddle. That's what we tried to do last week – just get on the ball and stay on the ball and put the pressure on the defense. That's why it was so effective for us last week. This week, I don't know. I don't know if we're going to do it; I don't know if we're not going to do it. It's still up in the air. But it worked for us last week, and we'll see where it goes this week."
On if there is such a thing as a winning attitude in practice coming off a victory as opposed to the last several weeks:"Yeah there is. I think even in the past several weeks we still had a winning attitude. We still went out there and we still prepared as if we were going to win. It's no different this week, but you have to have the mindset to go out there and get better. You have to have a positive mind set, whether you win or lose. You've got to go out there the following Monday or Wednesday and go out there with a positive attitude. We have this whole season, regardless if we won or not. This week is no different."
On what a great performance like RB Willis McGahee's in the Miami game adds to the offense:"It makes us very unpredictable. When Willis is running the ball the way he's running it, they can't kill just one thing. Now, not only do they have to stop the run, they've got to concentrate on stopping the run. Then you get the pass. Then they don't know what we're doing. At least in Miami, the way Willis was running, they didn't understand if we were going to throw it on first down or run it on first down; throw it on third down or run on third down because of the way Willis and the line and the regulars were running the ball. Hopefully, we can be in that same position this week. I think if our offensive line continues to do what they've been doing, we should be OK. But like I said, that defensive line, they've got to go through it. We've just got to try to do what we can on the offensive front, try to get Willis going early, and that will open up some things for us."
DT Haloti Ngata
On the continuity of the offensive line and DT Justin Bannan:"We expect to never slow down. Kelly [Gregg] got hurt, and Bannan comes in and does a great job, goes in and never slowed down. I think the thing about our team is we expect our backups to do just as good as our starters. Bannan has been doing a great job. We haven't missed a beat, so I feel good about it."
On how much respect he has for the Raiders' running game and QB JaMarcus Russell:"A lot of respect, just because they have great running backs. We saw [Darren] McFadden on film. He's been running great, and you have [Justin] Fargas –he's running the ball great. And JaMarcus Russell is a great runner, too; he's big. We've definitely got to make sure we stay in our gaps and stop that run so we can make them a one-dimensional team."
On what you have to do with Russell because of his size:"He's kind of like Ben Roethlisberger. He's big, and you've got to get him down. If you don't get him down he's going to find those little dump passes that he can just throw to. So you've just got to make sure that once you get your hands on him you squeeze as hard as you can and get him down as fast as you can, because he's going to find those running backs and dump them off to them, and they're going to get some yards because those guys are great athletes. They'll get some yards after they catch that ball."
On if it ticks him off that LB Terrell Suggs missed training camp yet still comes out and has a big year:"Not at all. It just shows that he worked hard while he was missing training camp. It's just great to have that guy on our team, especially all that talent and athleticism that he has, it just makes our defense that much better. I'm happy to have him on our team, and I'm happy he's doing great. It doesn't [tick] me off at all."
On what he's looking to improve in his play:"I don't know if you guys have noticed, I haven't gotten any sacks yet. I'm definitely working on pass-rushing skills and just trying to watch film on guys my size and seeing what they're doing – with Albert Haynesworth and those guys, seeing what they're doing to get the quarterback. It's hard to watch guys, those edge-rushers, because they're fast. That's not my game. I'm more of a powerful guy. I've just got to work hard, keep defeating my guy and getting to the quarterback. So I'm working on pass rushing."
On if opponents are putting more blockers on him:"I guess. It just opens up other guys, our edge-rushers. It probably is, but I want to get to the quarterback because that's what I'm here to do."
On the lack of pressure on Colts QB Peyton Manning and how much the defense took that personally:"I think we took it personally. Trevor [Pryce] got close to Peyton Manning so many times in that game and didn't get him down. It's frustrating when that kind of stuff happens. We've just got to work hard as defensive linemen to show different looks from the front and try to confuse the O-line so that we can get to the quarterback. It was really frustrating that game just because Peyton was all over, just passing all over us. It wasn't our DBs' fault, 100 percent. It was us not getting to the quarterback, too. So we've just got to work more on that."
DE Trevor Pryce
On what he thinks of the team's prospects from this point after a win last week and trying to establish consistency:"Being consistent is a habit, more than anything else. If you practice good habits, it starts to become second nature to you. So if we keep doing the things that we're trying to accomplish in practice, then we'll be all right. If we don't, then we'll have problems. But that's every football team in the world or every athletic team in the world. Any time you have a bunch of people that are all trying to go the same way, you can get muddied up if you don't do that and find some consistency in what you're doing, as far as practice and how you play the game. The score is what the score is, but if you find a way to always be the same – good, if not better than that – you should be all right."
On how he rates the Raiders' offensive line:"They're pretty good. They're NFL linemen. They get paid. It's not like it's a high school team. I'm not going to sit up here and say they're better than any other O-line that we've played. They're NFL linemen. I know two of them real well. They're good players."
On what he's seen out of OLB Jarret Johnson:"To me, Jarret is one of the most aggressive football players I've ever been around. When you have no regard for your body like that – with the things that he does, the blocks that he takes on – he's not going to make a whole bunch of flashy plays. But the plays that someone else is making, they're usually caused by Jarret. That's why I'm a big fan of his. He just keeps his nose to the grindstone, keeps quiet, and he's one of us. I love him to death. I think he's a great football player. Any team would be lucky to have him."
On his opinion of OLB Terrell Suggs, who seems to be flashier:"Same thing. He's flashier because he is more of a personality that way, but they play football the same way. One of the things that people don't know about Jarret, he's a great pass rusher. If he comes out to the one-on-one drills, he never loses. He's really athletic. Terrell is, too, but sometimes Jarret does things like a spin move. You're like, 'Where'd that come from?' But he's like, 'I can do that.' It's just a matter of what you see them doing. Jarret doesn't get that many opportunities. Terrell gets a lot, and he makes the most of pretty much every one he gets."
On whether things like what happened with CB Chris McAlister affect the locker room:"Nope, because he's our friend and our teammate. Whatever it is he's going through or gone through, that really has no bearing on him as a person. We know what Chris is. Chris knows what I am. You'll never hear any of us say anything that's derogatory towards our teammates that might make it sound one way or another. That's not what we are. Again, we're friends first. You have to become close on a football team. When you have a lot of guys that make a lot of money and these things, you have to kind of separate that. Around here, we're going to do that."
On if there's anything extra you have to do when you get to a big quarterback like Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell:"You ask him nicely to lay down *(crowd laughter). *Seriously."
On whether he feels this game is more important to Rex Ryan since his brother, Rob, is Oakland's defensive coordinator:"No, they're twins, so they know what each other's thinking. I think they have their own thing going on. All the games are important to Rex. Trust me. You know that. Every game is important. Every practice is important. None is more [important]. Get to the Super Bowl? That might be a little different. Other than that, they're pretty much all '1-A,' and that's the way it should be."
On if the responsibilities of a defensive end have changed since he began his career:"Yeah, but they change week to week. So you'd have to ask me that every week, and I'd tell you, 'It's different this week because of this,' or 'It's different this week because of that.' That's just the chess part of the game. The coordinators deal with it. They don't tell us why we do a lot of things, but then you figure it out on your own later on in the week and say, 'Oh, that's why we're doing that.' So, as long as you trust the people that are hired to coach you and help you, you're fine."
On how NT Justin Bannan is playing:"Justin Bannan is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, and I say that with all sincerity. You watch him play, and the things that he can do, it's just like… And he practices that way, which is the part that makes me jealous. The playing thing, everybody can play hard on Sunday. But he plays hard on Wednesday, which is really difficult to do. My hat is off to him. I think he's done a fantastic job. Our coaches will tell you he's doing a fantastic job."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On why he would say he's watching Hines Ward when he doesn't see him again until later in the year:"How can I look out for him on Sunday when we don't play him on Sunday? Don't read into the fine print. You could anticipate what I said. I said that the next time we play them, we're going to be watching out for him. He broke a guy's jaw on Sunday and put him out for the season. Everybody knows what he did against 'Double-J' [Jarret Johnson], which he eventually got fined for. And, he blind-sided Ed Reed. Like I said, we're going to be watching out for him."
On if Ward is one of the cheapest players in football:"What do you think? [Reporter says yes]. Then you can answer your own question. It pretty much speaks for itself."
On the comments he made saying QB Troy Smith should be the starter:"That's not what I said. When [the reporter] asked me, I was like, 'I think there should be multiple packages.' At least that's what I thought he was asking. I was like, 'I think both of them should get a chance to play,' and as you see with Ronnie Brown running the Wildcat, he's taking snaps as the quarterback. I think multiple packages are good. That's all I was trying to say."
On if Joe Flacco is his starting QB:"He's good. He's won three games and lost three games. It's not like we're 0-6. He's good. They both have different things one does better than the other. I think it would be better if we had both of them playing. Then again, I'm no [darn]* *offensive coordinator, so I don't know. That's just my opinion. Maybe I'm just a Madden guy."
On if what was said on the show in Atlanta was blown out of proportion:"Definitely. Just like that whole Hines Ward [thing] was blown out of proportion. You're talking about, 'Why are you watching him now if you're not playing him now?' You knew what I meant. I don't do plays on words. I'm going to tell it like it is."
On if a reporter can put $20 in on the "bounty":"Like I said, there is no bounty on Hines Ward. We're watching out for him – that's just it. I don't want my jaw broken. I don't want to be out for the season. I don't want him to cheap-shot me.* *There is no bounty on the man. We are just alert. Just like the guy that is pulling people's drawers down in the neighborhood, we are [on] alert for him. Don't read into him."
On his first interception for a touchdown:"That felt really good. The first time I saw it was actually Monday afternoon. It just looked fun, like I was fast. I had my track thing going, like I had my legs up. I looked like an athlete."
On if coach John Harbaugh told him to take care of the ball:"I know. We don't want another Leon Lett in here. I guess with everything bad I do, there's something bad. You can always work to be better."
On if he would have liked to do something differently on the celebration:"Definitely. I would have Deion [Sanders] high-stepped in there, but this was my first touchdown, and I didn't know how to react when I got there. But, I got a lot of help from Frank Walker."
On if he has raised his profile in a concerted effort in his contract year:"Of course not. Haven't I always talked to you all? Year in and year out, I've always tried to win Media Good Guy. Have I not? I've threatened each and every one of you like, 'Hey, if I don't get Media Good Guy this year, I'll never talk to you again' (laughing). And, year after year, I still talk to you all. I've always talked to the media, but I think with my [charity] event happening next week, that's why I'm getting more attention this week. But it's nothing to do with the contract."
On if he really needs training camp to play well in the season:"I think some guys need training camp and some guys don't. Some vets really don't need training camp, like my teammate Ray [Lewis]. He could say, 'I'll be there, but really won't participate in camp.' I think he's well within his rights. He's earned that. Mine was more of a business side of the deal on why I didn't come. It's always good to at least get the mental reps, but every case is different."
On what the franchise tag value means to the team:"To tell you the truth, I haven't really thought about that. My teammates don't see me as, 'Oh, he's the franchise player.' We're all Ravens in here. Contracts and everything are pretty much irrelevant at this point. I haven't really thought about it since it happened, and I'm just trying to win games. We'll handle that when the time comes."
On I he feels like he's playing the best football of his career:"I don't know. I don't want to peak myself. I think the most important thing is to win. So, if we keep going out there and putting slashes in the win column, things will work out for you."
On what he thinks about the battle of the Ryan brothers:"I love it. The Ryan Bowl. Of course, I love Rex. He comes first, hands-down."
CB Fabian Washington
On if this game means more to him because of his experience with the Raiders last season:"It's a little extra, of course, just because they're my old team and I've got a lot of friends still out there. But I'm still taking it as just another game. I'm preparing the same way. I don't think [there is] anything else I can do to prepare more for this game that I didn't do the last game. If I could, then that would mean I was cheating myself the last game. So, I'm going to prepare the same."
On how much happier he is in Baltimore than he was a year ago:"This is a much better situation for me. Here, you're pretty much allowed to just go out and play football, [and you] don't worry about anything else."
On if he sees similarities between Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and his twin brother, Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan:"Of course. They sound alike, look alike, and for the most part, you've got to like both of their defenses. I love the defense out in Oakland, and I love the defense here."
On what it's like to play for Raiders owner Al Davis:"It's different. It's definitely different playing out there."
On how it is different:"I'm not going to get into all that. It's just a different situation."
On how frustrating it is to have the nagging injuries that have bothered him this season:"Getting hurt this year, it's something I've never been through in all my years of playing football. For me to miss two games already out of six for injury, it's killing me."
On if he's over his disc problem and if he can play with the shoulder injury and address it in the offseason:"The disc is still there. At times it still bothers me. And the shoulder is something [that comes and goes]. I played last week with it; it felt fine. Hopefully, I can finish this season out and I can take care of both of them at the end of the season."
On whether he feels he can help the team with information about the Raiders' defense or has there been too much change in personnel at Oakland:"I can help them pretty much with what I know about their receivers. I know a little bit about the guys that were there when I was there. I don't know anything other than playing against the new guys that are there. So the only thing I can really tell them is what I know and what I [saw] last year, which just from watching film, [I see] there is a lot of change there. It's not much I can tell them."
On what he likes about the makeup of the Ravens' team and the chance to turn things around:"This team, when we went on that three-game losing streak, we never once thought, 'Here we go. The season is over.' No. We always thought out of all those games, we really thought we could win. The only game we really got beat up in was the Indy game. We felt those other two games we definitely could have won and should have won. With that, we're one of the better teams in this league, and our record [would] show it if we could just have held on to those two games that we lost."
On Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell:"JaMarcus is a big guy that will squeeze the ball in some tough spaces. His arm is a cannon. I've never seen a guy who could throw the ball with that much velocity and that far. I've been watching film, and he's making some good decisions this year. He's not throwing interceptions. So anytime you can get that, that's always a good thing. I think he's definitely improved from what I [saw] in practice from last year to this year."
OAKLAND RAIDERS CONFERENCE CALL
Head Coach Tom Cable
On whether he gets the feeling defensive coordinator Rob Ryan wants this win more because the game is against his twin brother Rex:"I think it's been on the schedule for a while now, and they'll have to settle it somewhere – 50-yard line after the game, I don't know – but we'll leave that up to them."
On what Rob Ryan has meant to him as a coach in terms of running the Raiders' defense:"It's been important to have him for the simple reason that it's got his handprint on it, and those guys go out and they play for him. They like the scheme. I think there's a lot of camaraderie with the coaches and players on that side of the ball, so it's been invaluable in terms of having him here and just keeping the thing moving forward."
On what kind of threat the Ravens pose to the Raiders and does he feel the team has momentum after its win last week:"First thing you do is talk about [the Ravens'] defense. They're talented, they're very well-coached, they play with a lot of energy and intensity. So that's a problem in itself. The pressure you get from all over the place, they've got good players that do it, so you know you have your hands full that way. I think the thing that impresses me about [the Ravens] is that their young quarterback seems to be starting to develop. They used some no-huddle stuff with him last week. He seemed very comfortable and executed it well, and they run the ball very well. This will be a tough matchup for us on the road."
On how he sees the team has responded to the coaching change in the last few weeks:"I think we were, obviously, able to get to it and get it behind us. And now we're trying to move forward. Last week was exciting, it was positive to get something back from the investment and the hard work and everything you've put into it. So now you go to Baltimore and see if you can do it again."
On what makes LB Terrell Suggs so difficult to play against:"First of all, he doesn't stay blocked. He's got that great intangible that all good defensive players have. He's going to get his hands on you; he's not going to stay blocked. He's a tremendous pass rusher. He really is a very good football player, kind of a complete football player."
On how important the special teams factor will be in this game:"I think when you really sit down and look at the National Football League, special teams decides more games than people really might give it credit for. It's important for both teams. I think [when] you have two good special teams [units] go head-to-head, you've got to really be on your game in something like this. Baltimore is very disciplined, very tough physically, and so you've got to match that or they'll try to get you."
CB DeAngelo Hall
On how he thinks the Raiders have done thus far:"Thus far? A little bit below average. I think the record kind of indicates that. But we're just starting to get rolling a little bit. We've got Tom Cable in here now. He definitely has a vision for us. He's a fiery coach, getting us going, and the guys are following behind him."
On what coach Cable has done differently since taking over:"Just kind of his attitude. His attitude, his attention to detail, the way he holds everybody accountable. That's probably the biggest thing. Everybody's held accountable for their actions – whether it's on the field, whether it's off the field, whether it's not making a play, making a play you're supposed to make. Guys are responding. Like I said, guys are taking the challenge head on, and I think it showed last week and the week before. We finally won a four-quarter game and ended up winning, putting it down in overtime."
On if anything changes defensively when facing a rookie quarterback:"No, not at all. Joe [Flacco] has been out there making some plays. He is a rookie, has a lot to learn still, but he has a lot of weapons over there to help him do that, a lot of weapons over there. They're playing pretty good football, great defense as well. So we're kind of in the same situation as Baltimore. Our defense hasn't been playing as good as theirs, but we've got a young quarterback back here too that we're trying to protect, trying to nurture and put him in a position to make plays."
On what kind of challenge a no-huddle offense presents to a defense:"We've just got to line up and play ball. Obviously, people know we haven't been lining up very well. The no-huddle has been pretty good against us in the past. There are just things we're trying to work on – our communication, get everybody lined up and get ready to play football."
On if he has a large ticket request for this game:"No, not super large. I'm actually from the Tidewater [Virginia] area, so I'm not as close to Baltimore as I'd probably like to be. So not too many [tickets]. I'm only in the round for about 15."
On if he's surprised that Ravens WR Derrick Mason is doing as well as he is at the age of 34:"You know what, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not. The way D-Mason takes care of his self, his body, his work ethic… I actually remember going against him my rookie year when he was in Tennessee. I've been a fan of his ever since I was a kid. I'm only 24 years old, so I can remember D-Mason at the top of his game. He's not far off. I compare him and Joey Galloway. They're like the same. They're the same fine wine – it seems like they get better with age. Playing in Atlanta, I got to see Joey Galloway twice a year, and I tell you what, I think he might be faster now than he was. That's the same way I feel about Derrick Mason. He gets in and out of those breaks better now than he did back in the day."
On if expects some verbal exchanges with Mason:"Oh, I don't think so. I have a mutual respect for him. I feel like he has the same likewise. Last time I played against him, when I was in Atlanta, we actually exchanged jerseys after the game, so he's a guy that I respect. I think he respects me, too. We're going to go out there and have fun. If we end up talking a little bit, then we do. But I definitely respect him as a player, I feel like he's done a lot in this league, and hopefully I can make it to 13 [seasons]."
On the challenge of defending a running game with three running backs:"Oh yeah, they're always fresh. They're always fresh, ready to pound you. We've got to be able to stop that assault. Like I said, in the past we haven't been able to stop that assault on running backs being able to run the ball on us, so we've just got to be sound out there. We know that's what they want to do, especially with a young quarterback. You definitely want to establish that running game to make it easy on him. We've just got to hand it up, hand it up, we've got to stay fresh and work hard this week at practice so we can be ready for that assault of different running backs coming at us."
On if he buys into the idea that West Coast teams have trouble winning on the East Coast:"I don't buy into that at all, I don't buy into that at all. Everybody has to travel eventually, and everybody's got to go out there and win games. The better team is going to win the game, not the team who had to travel the least, or the team who's from the West Coast or the team who's playing at home. It's just the better team that day is going to win. Whether we're prepared or whether they're prepared, that's going to determine who wins that game."